I put the deposit on the cottage down in February, when we weren’t sure what this summer was going to bring.

In the dark days of winter in a pandemic that just won’t die, this last week in August spent annually in the Kawartha Lakes was a beacon of hope that better days were ahead. Now it’s here. Just in time.

The world continues to unravel, the pandemic rages on, the election signs are blocking my view and I’m doing everything in my power to go with the ebb and flow of all the things out of my control. Somehow, sitting by a lake helps. Funny how you can lose track of time by making quality time. Downtime. Family time. Me time.

So for a week, I’m shutting it down. The worry. The weight. The uncertainty. The unknown.


First, I need to set a voicemail greeting on my phone to notify people that I am unavailable for comment. Email is easy. Set an “out of office” message with the dates of your absence and offer a contact for an unwitting colleague who can deal with urgent requests (tip: be really nice to that unwitting coworker pre-vacation).

I’ve given this a great deal of thought. Here is my vacation voicemail script:

“Hello. Thank you for calling me, unless you are the CRA scam people, in which case, I hope you get the karma you deserve and the duct cleaning telemarketers get your personal numbers and dial you on repeat at all hours of the day and night. But, assuming you are not a telemarketer or scammer, and assuming you are calling me because you actually want to talk to me, thanks for reaching out. Very kind.

“I can’t talk right now though, because I’m sitting on a lounge chair on the dock watching boats pass by, heading to and from Lock 32 of the Trent Severn Waterway in beautiful Bobcaygeon. I’m listening to Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, by Otis Redding, because it’s very apropos, while daydreaming about the Regal 33 Express luxury boat that I will buy when my lottery win comes in. I’m thinking of names for her, like ‘Hope floats,’ or ‘Wasting time,’ or ‘Kelly’s Karma.’ I like that last one.

“I might also be paddling a canoe, or kayak, or taking the paddle boat out to the middle of the lake to do donuts until I feel dizzy and sick and smarten up. Whatever I do, my kids will be around and that makes me happy. Our friends, known as the Cottage Cousins, will be there too and that means a good time will be had by all.

“I won’t know you’re calling, so don’t be offended by my lack of a response. Texting me is also futile. My phone is locked away. It’s for my own good, really. It’s an addiction. Now, instead of dry eyes from staring at a blue screen, I’ll be mesmerized by the sunlight dancing on water, like shimmering diamonds. When I close my eyes, that’s what I’ll see. I know this because sometimes I nap on the dock, because I can, because that’s kind of the whole point of a vacation.

“I may not return your call for a few days upon my return, because it takes me a while to acclimatize to reality. Also, I’m anti-social now. Please leave me a message after the tone and I’ll call you back. Eventually.”


WriteOut of Her Mind